Quitting smoking is a winning decision
An innovative and exclusive professional programme
Thomas Budge, South Africa's internationally award-winning consulting hypnotist, teamed up with Dr. Richard Brink, Fourways' top family physician, to offer you a unique and exclusive opportunity to quit smoking.
It doesn't matter whether this is your first attempt at quitting or your last resort, the programme is tailored to suit your personal preferences and offers either hypnosis, medication or a combination of both.
As a smoker, you may have had some difficulty deciding which method is your best and easiest way to stop smoking as there are so many different offerings like electronic cigarettes, pharmaceutical drugs, nicotine gum, patches, sprays, acupuncture and a long list of motivational courses. However, there is only one clear recommendation that has a proven track record.
Simply put, smoking is not merely an addiction to nicotine, which sounds like an absurd statement to make, but one which is generally true. Here's some proof: how come you believe quitting is so difficult and yet, for most smokers, hours spent on long haul flights seem possible once you resign your mind to your fate. Smoking is essentially a mind game. Put it this way, if smoking was only a nicotine addiction, the use of nicotine replacements like gum, sprays and patches would instantly satisfy your cravings, immediately setting you free. Sadly however, these methods don't produce acceptable and sustainable levels of success. Why? Because psychological factors stand alongside nicotine's effects on your body, creating a psycho-neuro-biological mesh that holds the habit in place. You have to treat this holistically if you are to increase your chances of success.
From a psychological view, cigarettes are commonly seen as 'my best friend', they fill periods of loneliness, create gaps in a stressful day, they take your mind off daily worries and give you a socially acceptable reason to set time aside for yourself. Smoking may also be a social ploy that helps you bond with your smoking buddies, it provides an excuse to escape from those you might not like and offers you time to be on your own.
Some people use their cigarettes to create a certain 'lifestyle branding' for themselves, be it one of sophistication, rebelliousness or just being plain cool. Men and women often believe that smoking is sexy and gives them character, like their favourite film stars and heroes.
Although Thomas's success rates are very high, some participants in his programme don't immediately stop smoking. This happens when the client is ready to quit at an intellectual level but not necessarily ready to take the leap at a subconscious one. Peer pressure into quitting, medical emergencies, disgruntled life partners, pregnancy, nagging or ailing children, the enforcement of anti-tobacco legislation, no-smoking policies at work and so on, do not create well-formed motivators for stopping. Success rates drop when you are bullied into quitting. You have to be ready to do it for yourself. You have to be prepared take ownership of your own health in this regard.
The Mental Health Foundation, UK says:
Stopping smoking suddenly through willpower alone ('going cold turkey') is the least effective way to quit. Stopping is more likely to be successful if you plan ahead, have support and choose the right time to try. Your attempt is less likely to work if you are feeling unstable, experiencing a crisis or undergoing significant changes in your life.
Psychological risks of smoking
Self-medicating with cigarettes eases the signs and symptoms of stress and increases one's ability to cope with unwelcome pressure. True or False? It's true but you'd be surprised to know what aspect of smoking is at play here. You'd be stunned to know that this has a lot to do with the diameter of a cigarette (±7mm) and triggers a neurological response you first experiences soon after your birth.
Research into smoking and stress has shown that instead of helping people to relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation so people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. This feeling of relaxation is temporary and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings. Smoking reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to the symptoms of anxiety, but it does not reduce anxiety or deal with the underlying causes. — The Mental Health Foundation, UK.
Neurological risks of smoking
To again quote the The Mental Health Foundation, UK:
…smoking rates among adults with depression are about twice as high as among adults without depression. People with depression have particular difficulty when they try to stop smoking and have more severe withdrawal symptoms during attempts to give up. Nicotine stimulates the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in triggering positive feelings. It is often found to be low in people with depression, who may then use cigarettes as a way of temporarily increasing their dopamine supply. However, smoking encourages the brain to switch off its own mechanism for making dopamine so in the long term the supply decreases, which in turn prompts people to smoke more. This obviously creates an ever increasing spiral of dependency.
Researchers are not sure whether depression leads to smoking or whether smoking increases your chances of becoming depressed. It is likely that it is a complex relationship between the two.
Physical health risks of smoking
Embedded here is a wonderful website created by the Cancer Society of Finland. It shows you how tobacco changes people. This is not just a pretty picture, you can explore it by clicking on the man or woman in the image and then, by sliding the cursor left to right, you can clearly see the health risks of smoking. Play about with it for a bit.
Bupropion is a powerful antidepressant that had an unexpected side-effect which reduced certain patients' desire to smoke. The drug was quickly branded as Zyban, a smoking cessation product that, at the time of writing, is one of only two drugs approved as smoking cessation medication in America. Varenicline, patented by Pfizer and marketed as Champix, is the only drug that is specifically formulated as quit smoking medication. It works by blocking cell receptors to nicotine's stimulating effects, thereby making cigarettes redundant because nicotine no longer stimulates your nervous system. Champix also stimulates dopamine production which continues to give you a sense of feeling good throughout the programme. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that Varenicline stopped 43.9% of smokers and Bupropion only 29.8%. However, doctors are far more cautious when prescribing these medications as they are known to have some very nasty side-effects and hence it is imperative to use them under proper medical supervision.
Hypnosis on its own is an exceptionally powerful way to kick the habit. A 1976 study shows that a properly planned hypnotherapy session which includes personal structured counselling has a success rate of 67% (Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors, edited by D. Corydon Hammond, Ph.D.) This study was done a long time ago and better results care seen today due to society's continued efforts to outlaw smoking and a better awareness of smoking health risks which act as positive motivators contributing to greater successes.
Thomas perfected his techniques over many years and has always had above-average success rates in this field. He won the prestigious prize of Best Overall Winner, 2013, in the worldwide IMDHA scriptwriting competition for his work on kicking the smoking habit and is the best in this field. He uses a combination of NLP, coaching techniques and a lot of hypnosis in order to change your subconscious responses to your smoking habit. Most of Thomas's clients stop smoking completely (based on stopping for more than a year) after just the first session. A few might need a follow-up session or two before getting it right. But there a handful that are not subconsciously ready to quit and don't, despite all their desire to do so. Thomas then provides adjunct support to these clients in order to address their emotional issues before attempting to help them reduce smoking. Cigarettes are occasionally like scaffolding that holds up a rickety building — pull out the support before fixing the building and there's a risk of complete collapse.
Beware of certain kinds of hypnosis
Pre-recorded CD's and impersonal private quit-smoking hypnosis sessions lack proper counselling have low success rates — only around 25% (Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors, edited by D. Corydon Hammond, Ph.D.). One-size does not fit all. Generic material is helpful as post-counselling reinforcement or for those clients that need only a tiny nudge to push them into their new lifestyle. Obstinate smoking needs properly tailored therapy and this can only be done after extensive interview into your lifestyle and what what role cigarettes play. Impromptu, bespoke and skilled help is the only key to success. This kind of intervention and help is impossible using generic methods.
A suggested way forward
Thomas Budge and Dr. Richard Brink both run client-centric practices, meaning they put you and your wishes first. You may prefer medication without hypnosis, hypnosis without medication or a combination of both. Richard and Thomas offer their services separately but collaborate if you choose a hypno-medical approach.
Their professional opinion is that you should try the non-medical, hypnotic route first. Then, depending upon your progress, it may be appropriate to fall back onto some medical support while continuing with a few follow-up hypnosis sessions. Richard and Thomas believe that this approach is not only a first in South Africa but holds out the very best chance of quitting, even for the most obstinate smoker.
Motivating time off work
Whether you are your own boss or report to somebody else, consider this: cigarettes are harmful to your health. They weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to opportunistic diseases and infections, like influenza, bronchitis, and other respiratory and cardiovascular ailments. You are more likely to get ill and take time off work if you smoke.
Estimate the number of cigarettes you smokes at work. If for example, you smoke one every 45 minutes, the time it takes to get to and from your smoking zone and time enough to light and smoke your cigarette could add up on average to 18 to 20 hours or about two to three working days a month! With a little clever persuasion you might convince your boss to allow you time off work to attend our programme. You might also find that your company has a corporate wellness programme that could sponsor your desire to be smoke-free.
Article written: 22nd April 2014
© 2014, 2015, all rights reserved